Australian gets 3-year sentence for online sexual abuse as ‘brave’ Calgary girls praised for reporting him

An Australian man has been sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of soliciting sexual abuse material from a young girl in Calgary through online interactions.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) began investigating the man in 2019 after police in Calgary reported that an Australian Snapchat user was allegedly grooming young girls online to perform sexually explicit acts for him and then blackmailing his victims for more material, said a release from the AFP.

Investigators tracked down the suspect to Glenroy, a suburb of Melbourne. 

The suspect then committed further offences as he engaged online with someone who he thought was a 14-year-old girl but was actually an undercover AFP officer, the release said.

The man was arrested and charged with seven offences in July 2019.

He was found guilty of five offences in December 2020 after a trial in the Victorian County Court. 

He was acquitted of two offences relating to another young girl.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to three years in prison. He must serve six months behind bars before being released on a three-year recognizance release order.

AFP Det. Supt. Jayne Crossling said it’s important children feel empowered to tell parents and caregivers if something doesn’t seem right when they are online.

“In this instance, two brave girls reported the unwanted online contact to authorities in Canada. With the assistance of information from those law enforcement partners, we were able to identify and charge this man,” he said.

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